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October '05 -- stories that Brad likes

Poker Night
  by Andy Henion

More Than a Little Impressed
  by Peggy Johnson

Down With the Ship, Yo
  by Brian Beatty

Crazy Jake and Me
  by Lincoln Michel

Sportscaster Reporting About Dwarf Athletes at the 1984 Olympic Games
  by Jonathan Shipley

The Time Hopping Inter-Era Pirate Talk Show Host
  by Nick Mainieri

Selected pages from a 'Choose the Adventure You Want' story
  by Brooks Callison

For weeks now, grizzly bears and lions had been impaling ninjas with illegal lawn darts. Local samurai warriors who traditionally battled these ninjas to their death (in arenas filled with giddy midgets) were forced to find new hobbies.

Samurai Steve took up whiffle ball.

Samurai Joe built model rockets from unfinished kits he picked up at yard sales.

Samurai Mark set off package after package of fireworks — in the wee hours of the night, when everybody was trying to sleep.

That’s what led the police chief, a determined midget new to this duty, to visit these three popular (though totally bored) heroes.

“I grew up in Las Vegas,” the chief explained. “So I like a good explosion. It's true. What I don’t like is wasabi. Not one bit. Not even those wasabi peas. They’re abominations to regular vegetables, if you ask me. Do you understand what I’m telling you boys?”

“That your parents were single-cell organisms?” Samurai Steve said.

“That the throwing stars on your belt aren’t just for giggles?” Samurai Joe said.

“That we need to get out of town?” Samurai Mark said. “And fast!”

The chief nodded, then fell over. His head was too big for his miniature body. Getting up, he told them, “I hear there may be more ninjas out at sea. Go get ‘em, boys.”

That day Samurais Steve, Joe, and Mark became Pirates Steve, Joe, and Mark.

The new titles inspired them, but inspiration alone wouldn’t be enough. Pirates needed a boat. Preferably a boat with lasers — because Pirate Mark still had a thing for explosions. And Pirates Steve and Joe didn’t think they were in particularly great ninja-fighting shape after the time off.

They watched the newspaper classified pages, but no one appeared to be selling any sea-worthy boats with lasers. The closest they saw was a canoe that came with a battle axe thrown in for free, but they all agreed that such primitive equipment didn’t quite suit their ninja-battling needs.

“I’m not fooled just because it’s called a battle axe and battling ninjas is what we do,” said Pirate Steve, the ironic one.

It was Pirate Joe, the sensitive one, who noticed the classified ad for the dog. “The biggest dog you’ve ever seen,” the ad read. “Absolutely FREE! to the right home.”

Unbeknownst to his buddies, he called the phone number in the ad for the ginormous dog.

“Pirates are fine,” the little old lady told him. “But I’m not so sure about those dirty, dirty ninjas. Not around my Alf.”

“Alf?” Pirate Joe said, confused.

“That’s the dog's name. You’re probably too young to remember the funniest TV show of the 1980s. Maybe the funniest TV show ever.”

She was right. It turned out Tiny Wilma, as the Pirates Steve, Joe and Mark came to call her, was always right. Even about unicorns, which she convinced them didn’t exist.

After while, the three pirates forgot all about the boat they’d thought they wanted. Grizzly bears said it was because they’d turned soft. Lions insisted it was because ninja-battling was no longer in their genetic code. The police chief had a surgery to have his legs lengthened, but it didn't work.

Tiny Wilma knew what really mellowed the boys.

She knew it was because she’d taken them in. For the first time in their lives, they felt they had a real home. Her submarine wasn’t much, but it did keep out the sharks.

In no time, Steve, Joe and Mark (who went just by their names now) were using bullwhip-like seaweed to make hammocks for themselves and clothes for Tiny Wilma. Not to murder the ninjas who turned out to be far fewer than they'd imagined listening to the police chief. Mark, the craftiest of the three, even made a new leash for Alf.

Brian Beatty is a writer and comedian His writing has appeared in many print and online publications, including Monkeybicycle and Yankee Pot Roast . He has appeared on many stages, including the Improv in Hollywood and the Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, where he lives. It's a very funny bowling alley.